Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is her well known author and poet is United States and also in other continents such as Africa and Asia. Being a black female she has had several challenges while writing her work but she gains immerse strength from her personal life story. Due to the fact that she strongly uses autobiographies as the bases of her writing, many critics have analyzed her work to be purely autobiographical texts. At the same time other great literature scholars such as Mary Jane Lupton insist that Angelou’s works are autographical works and perfectly bring light to the real life issues such as feminism, racism and rape. The great American author Angelou has published about six autobiographies, multiple books of poetry and five essay books. In addition to this writings she has also taken part in development of several plays, television shows and movies that have been in the market for over fifty years. Through this works she has won dozens of awards and gained several honorary degrees. All her achievement is literature and poetry can strongly be said to have an autographical background clearly proving the efficiency of using autobiography in creating great literature.
Angelou’s inspirational autobiography attained form her provocative life style is clearly expressed in her works. It’s actually difficult to separate her life experiences since she was a little girl to the themes in her works. Maya Angelou was born in Marguerite in the 1928, she is a daughter to Mr. Bailey and Mrs. Vivian Baxter. Unfortunately her parents divorced while she was three years old and together with her brother they were forced to live with their grandmother. This was actually the begins of her troubles, experiencing hardship and having to constantly shift from her grandmothers home to her mothers, Angelou became a very unsettled child. At the age of seven she returned to live with her mother. Though at the beginning things had started to look better for the young girl, it did not take long before darkness immerged after the boy friend raped her. It took courage for her to confess what had happened to her mother and when she finally did the man who had assaulted her mysteriously disappeared. This experience was too brutal to Angelou; she was too traumatized to continue living with her mother and decided to go back to her grandmother this also resulted to her being voluntary mute for 5 years.
When she is asked about this bitter childhood, Angelou says that as an adult she looks at it as a bitter sweet childhood that provides power of child’s visions. She further says that though at the beginning she was pure as the moonlight her life had just begun and so to the lessons (Showalter, 2). When she was fourteen she got a two year scholarship to join George Washington High School, it was then she decided she was to be a street car conductor. After making several failed job applications on the same she managed to get a job and dedicated her time to performing her best. At the time she became the first woman in Washington to be a street conductor and this resulted to her having very few or no friends. She further began to feel quite unsecure about her looks and sexuality, it actually became difficult for her to feel pretty and this affected her confidence. During this struggles Angelou was at point convinced she was a lesbian but decided to fight it and began a sexual relationship worth her classmate. To even complicate her life she got pregnant and gave birth to a son. By the time she was graduating from high school her pain and disappointments were too much and unbearable. With the help of a friend she decided to confine and gain strength from writing.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sign was her first work its came soon after the birth of her child and closely followed by several others such as Gather Together in My name, The Heart of a Woman, All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes and A Song Flung Up to Heaven. All these autobiographies explained her beginning, the dying and the reborn. The first work which also the most famous I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing explains that brave and courageous are elements that one can not afford to life with out. The famous writing also portrays how difficult it may be to life as both a female and black in a largely diverse state, the bird in this case is regarded as triumphant which is also essential in providing encouragement in many instances. In her life the birth of a son the triumphant that acted as the stepping stone thus providing another reason to continue fighting and being strong. As earlier stated several other works of this great author continue to relate to her personal experiences and teach common aspects in life. The Heart of a Woman in another notable autobiography that the author greatly used to gain confidence in her self, her sexuality and her appears after having lost it along the way in her struggling life. Bottom line, Angelou a great female writer has expressed how autobiography can be used to create excellent literature and poetic work and at the same time assist in solving common life issues.

Moyer, Homer E. (2003). The R.A.T. Real-World Aptitude Test: Preparing Yourself for Leaving Home. Herndon, New York: Capital Books.
Maughan, Shannon (2003-03-03). “Grammy Gold”. Publishers Weekly


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